MapBox.com and our toolset will no longer officially support Windows Internet Explorer 7. We’ll continue to support Internet Explorer 8 and 9, and we’ll test against
Internet Explorer 10 and support it upon release in August. So while much of MapBox’s code will continue to function correctly in Internet Explorer 7 - there will be no browser
detection or forced degradation - some features will only work well in modern browsers.
This effects very few people. Late last year, Microsoft started to automatically upgrade IE7 to IE8 in order
to stem the tide of malware caused by the six-year-old browser. Meanwhile, the market share of Internet Explorer
7 has dropped to 1.53% and has been eclipsed by new browsers like Mobile Safari,
the default on iPhone and iPad.
Throughout the development of MapBox Hosting, TileMill,
and our broad APIs, we’ve made great efforts to
maintain compatibility with as many devices and browsers as possible. This includes developments
like our UTFGrid specification,
which makes it possible to interact with maps in browsers that don’t correctly support any vector standard.
But there are many important things that IE7 doesn’t support. JSON, the data format we support in
our API and a widely accepted standard, isn’t supported natively. The technologies behind
exciting new client-side mapping possibilities like Canvas and SVG
are completely unsupported by the browser. IE7’s support for CSS is also
extremely lacking, as well as a lack of support for the hashchange
event, which gives us the ability to link to specific areas of sites and maps.
The lack of support for data uris - content embedded within a
local string - means that maps can’t take advantage of caching and our CSS can’t use inline images, which improve
performance in mapbox.js.
Supporting Internet Explorer 7 has been a costly endeavor, but more importantly, continuing to do so would
limit the kind of innovation MapBox can produce, especially on mobile. By continuing to support IE8, any users with Windows
XP and newer who haven’t disabled auto-updates will still be able to use our tools.